Cubs

Albert Almora Jr. and Addison Russell compete for Cubs defensive highlight of the year on back-to-back plays

Albert Almora Jr. and Addison Russell compete for Cubs defensive highlight of the year on back-to-back plays

Joe Maddon declared Monday as "Albert's game" a couple hours before first pitch.

He didn't even know how right he was at the time.

"Albert" is Albert Almora Jr., the Cubs' rookie centerfielder who hasn't gotten to play as much lately with Ian Happ's emergence over the last week.

But with a left-handed pitcher on the mound for the San Francisco Giants Monday night, Maddon wanted to get the right-handed hitting Almora in the lineup. There was also the added benefit of Almora providing the best defense in center with John Lackey — a flyball pitcher — on the mound for the Cubs.

It took only three batters for Almora's impact to be felt:

He was off on a dead sprint from the very second that ball was hit. Almora covered 89 feet in an amazing five seconds:

What makes the play even more amazing is two pitches prior, Addison Russell had the crowd buzzing with his own highlight-reel play:

If it weren't for Almora's play, Russell's effort might go down as the Cubs' defensive highlight of the season to date.

Of course, this isn't the only time we've seen Almora turn in a highlight-reel catch:

6 Cubs sit out Wednesday's activities due to another COVID-19 testing delay

6 Cubs sit out Wednesday's activities due to another COVID-19 testing delay

Six Cubs will miss Wednesday’s intrasquad game as they wait for results from Monday’s COVID-19 testing.

It’s the second time this week multiple Tier 1 members of the Cubs — which includes players and coaches — have missed team activities while waiting for test results. Manager David Ross and five other Tier 1 Cubs did not participate in Monday’s activities after Saturday’s results came back pending and required retests. One of those tests came back positive and it didn't involve a player.

Ross has preached patience throughout Summer Camp as Major League Baseball works through its early testing hiccups, repeating that message on Wednesday.

“This not easy — I think I've said that a million times — it’s not easy on the players, it's not easy on Major League Baseball,” Ross told reporters. “I don't think it's anybody's fault that things are delayed. 

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“If you want to point fingers, we’re focusing on the wrong task. We've got to focus on, as the Chicago Cubs, doing the best work we can when we're on that field and controlling what we can control, and testing is not in our control. To be frustrated is just a waste of energy for me.” 

Because of the delay, Robel Garcia, Christopher Morel, Brennen Davis and Miguel Amaya joined the Cubs from their South Bend alternate training site for Wednesday’s scrimmage.

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Cubs injury update: Anthony Rizzo's MRI confirms rib inflammation

Cubs injury update: Anthony Rizzo's MRI confirms rib inflammation

An MRI confirmed that Anthony Rizzo’s back spasms this week are stemming from rib head inflammation on his left side, the Cubs announced Wednesday.

The first baseman has a history of back injury, dating back to 2014.

He described this season’s bout with lower back tightness as, "frustrating just because of how physically in shape I felt I was. Just can’t control the flareups."

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Rizzo has been limited due to lower back tightness for a week. He showed signs of improvement on Sunday, when he took live batting practice without issue. But his recovery from the workout wasn’t what he had hoped, prompting the MRI.

Rizzo said he doesn’t expect to start the season in the injured list. But if an IL stint is necessary, he’d prefer it be for a few games early in the season, rather than extended time out later.

 

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